Look at western Colorado and norther Colorado. Rangely and Grand Junction. They melt off faster than the rest of us. The Cache La Poudre Canyon has some great trails and should open then. Grand Junction has some hardcore stuff. Rangely as well. Check out a website called http://www.traildamage.com/ these guys run all of the time and give frequent updates. I would not plan on anything in the high mountains at that time. 15 feet is not abnormal and so far this year we already 150% of normal and its only Feb. March is the heaviest snow month. I would not plan on our high trails being open until late August at this rate.
Everyone has listed alot of great places to go, namely the Telluride/Ouray area being at the top of the "must-see" in my opinion. But again, like most people have mentioned, alot of the best places require being at high elevations, which definitley will mean snow until at least late May. I tried Imogene Pass the last week of May, and it had drifts of about 7 feet in some spots (albeit we were in my girlfriends stock XJ with baldies). I don't know if I missed it in the thread Billz, but are you looking for more tourist stuff, or more wheely-fun stuff?
So I guess your original post kind of answered my question... short attention span... coming down 287 from Yellowstone would put you into Fort Collins, which is Microbrewery Capital of the World (and my stomping grounds). From here you could head right up to Estes Park (Rocky Mountain National Park), which is basically the essence of America. Wildlife, views, splendor... Pop out the back side of RMNP, to highway 40, through Granby (Grand Lake is nice as well) and Winter Park, and then either take 70 west to Silverthorne and Frisco, then HWY 9 down to COSPRINGS, or take Guanella Pass from Georgetown (where you're guaranteed to see bighorn sheep) to 285 to 9. Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is better than Pikes Peak in my opinion, but really if youre there, you can do both. Thats alot of stuff, probably cant do it all. Just some vague recommendations.
Great! Thanks for the recommendations. Based on the timeframe for this trip, it seems pretty unlikely that we'll be able to hit the Alpine Loop around the Ouray area due to snowfall. There are some trails in my area that don't open until July due to snow and those only go to the 6500-7000' range, so I'd imagine the 7000-12000' range would be just a little bit snowy!
Microbrewery capital of the world sounds great, except I can't drink (medication). Sad face!
So looking at teh Googles, Highway 34 looks pretty promising except it says it is closed in the winter. Would this be open by May?
Yea Billz, 34 is the loop from Estes Park up through Rocky Mountain National Park. Also called Trail Ridge Road, it think it's the highest continuous road in the US, so that's a nice bonus! I wanna say it opens up in May, maybe around Memorial Day (seems like they always try and get it open for holiday weekend). Beautiful Drive, and there's a lot to do and see in RMNP! Camping, wildlife, views. Pretty damn nice!